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Our bugles sang truce-for the night-cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain ; At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn-and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore,
From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
“Stay, stay with us-rest, thou art weary and worn ;'
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay, But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
Let us lift up the curtain, and observo What passes in that chamber. Now a sigh, And now a groan is heard. Then all is still. Twenty are sitting as in judgment there; Men who have served their country, and grown gray In governments and distant embassies, Men eminent alike in war and peace; Such as in effigy shall long adorn The walls of Venice-to show what she has been. Their garb is black, and black the arras is, And sad the general aspect. Yet their looks Are calm, are cheerful; nothing there like grief, Nothing or harsh, or cruel. Still that noise, That low and dismal moaning.
Half withdrawn, A little to the left sits one in crimson, A venerable man, fourscore and upward.
Cold drops of sweat stand on his furrowed brow. His hands are clenched ; his eyes half shut and glazed ; His shrunk and withered limbs rigid as marble. "Tis Foscari, the Doge. And there is one, A young man, lying at his feet, stretched out In torture. 'Tis his son, his only one ; "Tis Giacomo, the blessing of his age, (Say, has he lived for this ?) accused of murder, The murder of the Senator Donato. Last night the proofs, if proofs they are, were dropt Into the lion's mouth, the mouth of brass, That gapes and gorges; and the Doge himself, ('Tis not the first time he has filled this office) Must sit and look on a beloved son Suffering the question.
Twice, to die in peace,
The screw is turned, and as it turns, the Son
And in his mantle muffles up his face.
And the bark sets sail ;
His wife, his boys, and his disconsolate parents !
Like a ghost,
That house as old as VENICE, now among
Its ancestors in monumental brass,
But lo, at last, Messengers come. He is recalled : his heart Leaps at the tidings. He embarks : the boat Springs to the oar, and back again he goes, Into that very chamber! there to lie
And thence look up (Five long, long years of grief Have not killed either) on his wretched Sire,
Immoveable, enveloped in his mantle.